I truly marvel at the faith of the great patriarch, Abraham, in the Bible. When I am honest with myself, I cannot imagine having enough confidence to take my one and only child — the child of promise that I waited until I was over 100 years old to see God bring to conception — and sacrifice that child on an altar. A literal child sacrifice as an offering to God. I cannot imagine it. Sometimes I think we read Bible accounts like fiction — a good old story. A good story for them. We don't often enter into the narrative as a true-to-life, biblical account written "...aforetime for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4).

As I read Genesis chapter 22, I wonder — how did Abraham keep this from Sarah? 

What kind of emotional and physical torment did he experience? Didn't he second guess what he heard? And the trip to the land of Moriah — did he have chest pain or nausea as he walked? 

What did he really go through? 

He was, after all, not a comic strip character but a real human being. Just like you and me. How could it be that Isaac, a strapping young man, was a compliant sacrificial offering? Really? 

Yet that is what scripture alludes to in that the Bible says, "And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood." (Genesis 22:9)  Both Abraham and Isaac were obedient to the call. Amazing. One author on the subject writes, "...Isaac had been trained from childhood to ready, trusting obedience, and as the purpose of God was opened before him, he yielded a willing submission. He was a sharer in Abraham's faith, and he felt honored to be called to give his life as an offering to God." Further on, she writes, "Abraham's great act of faith stands like a pillar of light, illuminating the pathway of God's servants in all succeeding ages."1

How Is Your Faith Today?

So, how is your faith doing today? Is all on the altar for God? This year, my husband and I were impressed to sell an income-generating property to downsize our life significantly. It was going on the "altar." The real estate market was booming, and we heard all the accounts of it being a seller's market. We saw all the news reports of people selling their homes in one day with bidding wars. 

In a desperate frenzy for homes, buyers were bidding thousands over the asking price. At least that's what we thought we heard. Our decision was easy to put on the "altar" — or so we thought. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. No sale. 

No closing. Seven months — no sale. I cannot tell you how many times I got on the altar, removed the house, and started doing my antics to help God out! Finally, I surrendered — and we are still waiting. Yet God is not obligated to do anything we want in our timing or our way. He remains a very faithful God. He will allow our affections to be tested. He wants ALL. He loves and honors faith. The Bible reminds us that "...without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

Call to Action

May we pray to put all on the altar for God, and not to move until or unless He says so. Just as sure as He provided a ram in the thicket to replace Isaac, He will provide whatever we need in our case. He desires our faith. Our trust. 

He will be our Jehovah-Jireh in all situations to provide for us.

Further study:  Genesis 21-22, Hebrews 11, Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6


All scripture taken from the King James Version.

  1. Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1890), 151-153.

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